Thomas Hart Benton 1951
supplied the illustration
Did I live here long ago? I'm certain I must have done.
For surely I remember that gentle Autumnal sun.
Surely I smelt that new-mown hay, heard the clip-clop of that horse.
Did I live here long ago! I must have done; of course!
For how could I know who lives in that house, and is waiting there to greet me?
And how could I know who has left the church and is on his way to meet me?
And how could I know what lies beyond that gentle line of trees,
And what glad bird-song is floating down on that scented English breeze?
For certain I lived here long ago; for that's how my heart remembers
Two score youthful summers and their following Septembers.
So long ago, so long ago, I left there, for good or ill.
But my heart, which is rather stupid, thinks that it lives there still.
'The End of the World'..... a scary phrase,
In so many, varying, ways.
Do you imagine balls of fire?
Do you expect a Heavenly Choir?
Do think mankind will do the deed?
Do you think we're a helpless breed
Blown around by enormous forces
Constantly blowing us off our courses?
When I think of The End I find
Just one word comes to the fore....
And nothing more.
Not a harsh and fiery view.
Just a quiet desolation,
Just a state on non-creation.
I see a dusty planet turning......
No floods, no fires, no burning.
Just a garbage dump of 'things',
Crumbling buildings, rusty springs,
Machinery that makes no sense
When viewed in that silent future tense.
Empty streets, where windows stare
On emptiness, for there's nothing there.
Everything quiet and decaying.
Everything colourless and greying.
Our brains, which once were so aware,
Which made some sense of all that's there
Will have long-gone. All our success
Reduced to one word
Both of these are really lovely.
The second one is pretty on the nail.
The vivid imagery doesn't paint a very good picture of life 'after' it ends. I'm guessing it will be due to mankind and his greed for money or, power, or both which will bring about some catastrophic ending by either nuclear weapons or, I'm wondering now about this new EMP pulse they've been experimenting with. Which we're not supposed to know about. The one that made thousands of birds sudden;y fall out of the sky and millions of fish wash up on the shore. Messing with the electro-magnetic waves those animals use to uide themselves as to which way is up, etc. Or, will it be some type of biological weapon that once released becomes un-stopable. Who knows but, a scientist friend of mine said: "We keep looking for life out there but, Earth is the last post. It's our last chance to get things right, everything else out there is dead and, so far, we're blowing it."
Wow...your prose certainly had an impact on me.
Well written. :)
"So long ago, so long ago..." That's my story this week too.
The painting gave me a jolt too. I can see how it would bring back half-forgotten memories. A lovely poem.
I think you and I were both there! I hear it, too. :)
What a contrast in the message of your poems! I love how the picture prompt recalls memories of home.
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